As some long term readers may know, I sometimes have played around with recipes from Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers. But now I'm officially one! My first challenge was perogies, which i found infinitely exciting, since it's one of those things that has been on my list of things to make since I realized you can make anything from scratch (or maybe since someone I knew made them and brought them to one of the professors at undergrad and wouldn't share with me). Either way, they are not as readily available in Atlanta as they were in the midwest. Westside market had about 20 varieties! My family ate them for Easter one year. Obviously perogies are close to my heart... or at least they are one of those things that sort of speak to the fact that I truly am a Midwesterner. It turns out perogies really aren't that hard. Who knew? (plenty of people, I'm sure)
The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale. I'll spare you the gory details of what I did for the plain ones because i just followed the recipe for the traditional Russian style Perogies here.
Since I've grown up with perogies, I felt compelled to make them "traditional", though the twist I've thrown on them since I've been eating them as quick freezer food, is sauteing them with peppers and onions (growing up we ate them with marinara like ravioli). That's how we ate them when my family came to Cleveland. Then again, truly traditional is with sour cream. But they need some veggies with them, so why not fry them with the veggies?
My first batch did not turn out well. I rolled the dough too thin, and probably didn't add enough flour (I also turned off the air conditioning, oops). They were sticky and hard to fill and didn't hold their shape very well. They were still pretty tasty though.
Clearly, I had to try again. And I was watching food network Saturday night and Michael Symon was talking about his local favorite Cleveland food: perogies of course! The feature mentioned they use sour cream in the dough, so in the second batch I added some leftover sour cream and used a cup of whole wheat flour instead of a cup of the white. I also made very sure to flour everything very well. In fact, I floured each perogi before i stuffed it, and they were much easier to stuff and ended up looking prettier. They still looked ugly after they boiled though (and I didn't do much to help that, maybe someday I'll learn to make things more attractive). But I tasted one and they were MUCH better because they packed the full potato/onion/cheese punch I'm used to.
But I felt compelled to do something a little seasonal/local. The farmer's market has had figs lately, so, having never worked with them before, I thought this would be a good opportunity. I cut up the figs, mixed in some toasted walnuts and orange and lemon zest (lemon juice might have been better, I wanted them just a little tarter, but I didn't have any lemons, just zest), and added just a little sugar and cinnamon. They were delicious dessert perogies. I ate a couple for dessert every night for the rest of the week.